What is Local SEO and what are its benefits?

Local search optimization is the process of optimizing a website in order to generate traffic from location based searchesLocal SEO can help your business hit the top of search engines get featured in the carousel, by using your business’ name, address and phone number and customer reviews.

Inside this article, you’ll find all the factors and tweaks you can make for making sure your business will be found when your target customers search online.

A study conducted by Google in May 2014 regarding consumers’ local search behavior revealed the following:

Consumers search with their location and proximity in mind:

  • 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information.
  • They search on smartphone and computer/tablet for: store address, business hours, product availability and directions.

Local searchers take action:

  • 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on computer/tablet did the same.
  • Local searches lead to more purchases than non-local searches. 18% of local searches on smartphone lead to a purchase within a day vs. 7% of non-local searches.

Local SEO is an essential component for businesses with local presence and one of the most effective ways to market a business online, as it helps businesses promote their services or products to potential customers at the exact time they are looking for them.

18% of local searches on smartphone lead to a purchase within a day vs. 7% of non-local searches!Click To Tweet

Local Search Ranking Factors

The 2017 Local search ranking factors according to Moz are:

  1. Link Signals (Inbound anchor text, linking domain authority, linking domain quantity, etc.) 29%
  2. On-Page Signals (Presence of NAP, keywords in titles, domain authority, etc.) 24%
  3. Behavioral Signals (Click-through rate, mobile clicks to call, check-ins, etc.) 11%
  4. Personalization  9%
  5. Citation Signals (IYP/aggregator NAP consistency, citation volume, etc.) 8%
  6. My Business Signals (Proximity, categories, keyword in business title, NAP in Schema/JSON-LD on GMB Landing Page URL, etc.) 7%
  7. Review Signals (Review quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc.) 7%
  8. Social Signals (Google engagement, Facebook engagement, Twitter engagement, etc.) 4%

What is the Google Local 3-Pack?

It’s a results-pack with the 3 more relevant listings related to a search term demonstrating “local intent”. When Google determines that a Google search has “local intent” it shows a Local 3-Pack at the top of the results page. Those results are geographically relevant to the user.

An example local 3-pack (for the search term “coffee takeaway”) can be found below:

Searches that demonstrate “local intent” are:

  • Searches related to a product or a service that is usually fulfilled by a local business. For example “restaurant”, “coffee takeaway”, “hair salon”.
  • Search terms that contain the phrase “near me”, “in my area”.
  • Search terms that contain a geographical reference. For example “deli East Finchley”. The local 3-pack for this search term can be found below:

Getting started with Local SEOLocal pack ranking factors

The local pack ranking factors for 2017 according to Moz, are shown below:

  1. My Business Signals (Proximity, categories, keyword in business title, NAP in Schema/JSON-LD on GMB Landing Page URL, etc.) 19%
  2. Link Signals (Inbound anchor text, linking domain authority, linking domain quantity, etc.) 17%
  3. On-Page Signals (Presence of NAP, keywords in titles, domain authority, etc.) 14%
  4. Citation Signals (IYP/aggregator NAP consistency, citation volume, etc.) 13%
  5. Review Signals (Review quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc.) 13%
  6. Behavioral Signals (Click-through rate, mobile clicks to call, check-ins, etc.) 10%
  7. Personalization  10%
  8. Social Signals (Google engagement, Facebook engagement, Twitter engagement, etc.) 4%

Getting started with Local SEOGoogle My Business (GMB)

Google My Business helps businesses manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.

In order to claim your Google My Business page, you’ll have to visit GMB’s page. Then, you’ll need to go through a verification process where Google will send an envelope with a dedicated PIN to your business’s physical location. All you have to do from there is to log in and enter the PIN to verify your business.

GMB can help you promote your business. In order to improve your local rankings in GMB you should:

  • Create a listing for each of your physical locations and verify it.
  • Make sure your business information is 100% accurate (business name/description, telephone number, address, opening hours, business category, etc.).
  • Add accurate and appealing photos to your listings. It’s a great way to show people your products or services.
  • Manage and respond to existing GMB reviews. You show your customers that you value their feedback and at the same time you improve the visibility of your business.
  • Encourage customers to leave reviews on your GMB profile by sharing with them your PlaceID – it’s free and the reviews in general, have a huge impact on local ranking.
  • Create GMB posts. Those GMB posts can be related to new promotions, upcoming events, highlight a new product or service, etc. This is a new feature that helps businesses attract more attention and earn search visibility.

Citations

Citations are online references to a business’s Name, Address and Phone number. Google uses the NAP information for the evaluation of a business’s authority.

NAP consistency

NAP consistency means that a business’s Name, Address, and Phone Number are consistently listed the same across the web (additionally the business’s web address should be consistent as well). A major factor in determining how you rank locally is the quantity and quality of citations and NAP consistency across your citations.

Where can NAP data be found?

Often NAP data around the web are referred as citations. A citation is when your NAP data shows up on directory sites like Yelp or Yellow pages, newspaper articles, blogs posts, etc.

Incorrect NAPs

They are incorrect citations of your business across the web. Some of the reasons that this happened is because a local business might have changed physical location/phone number/name, someone in an organization might have setup listings without having NAP consistency knowledge, there are many business variations, etc.

There are 3 types of incorrect NAPs:

  1. Duplicates – duplicate listings on the same directory
  2. Incomplete citations – missing info in specific fields
  3. Mismatches – listings for the business that has a wrong business name, telephone number, etc.

Why having NAP consistency is important?

Having NAP consistency is crucial for a business as when the search engines crawl the web they will find all the discrepancies/variations in a business’s Name, Address, Phone and website (consistent listings include not just the same basic information, but the same spelling and formatting, as well). If such variations are found, this can have a negative impact on a search engine’s confidence in a specific business and they should be fixed.

Before you go

Local business competition is a total war zone, and if you’re not ranking on the top for your niche, your competition will do instead. Make sure that you are Serp optimized (both on and off-site), be consistent with your business info on the web, get listed on GMB and ask for reviews!

What practices do you use for your local SEO?

 

Apostle is a pure-blood Marketer. His job is to find a way when ostensibly there is none. Planning and executing A/B Tests, Email & Content Marketing along with alternative marketing techniques based on human psychology, all for the sake of customer success.